Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs

Beef short ribs have been on my list to try for quite some time, but it wasn’t until this weekend that I finally moved them to the top.  I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about their incredible tenderness and taste.  But I was nervous about the effort it would take to braise them for so many hours.  I know that you all depend on this blog for easy to prepare meals that are both budget and family friendly.  I wasn’t sure if braising short ribs on the stove for 4 hours really fit the mission of Our Family Eats.  When I’m selecting recipes and dishes to post here I try to keep things as real as possible, so if I don’t have time to do it I figure you don’t either.  Then I had a eureka moment.  What if I let the crock pot do the work for me?  The concept made perfect sense to me, and all of a sudden beef short ribs went from a recipe that was just a bit out of reach into something that fit in just perfectly with everything else.

After switching from an all afternoon braising session into a put it all in a crock pot and walk away recipe things really fell into place.  Short ribs are naturally flavorful, mostly because they are such a fatty cut, and also because they have the benefit of cooking along with bones.  You will always get more flavor out of anything you cook if you include the bones.  The only dilemma I had left to figure out was what to do about all the fat that comes along with cooking short ribs.  I decided to spend an extra 20 minutes and roast the ribs at high heat before adding them to the crock pot.  That way most of the fat was rendered and left behind in the roasting pan and not in my sauce.  In addition to helping with the fat, the oven gave the beef a slight crustiness that was still there somehow after all that time in the slow cooker.  I loved that.

short ribs beef easy

I cooked these on the lowest setting for the longest amount of time – 10 hours for my slow cooker – to make sure they stayed tender.  The meat literally fell off the bone when I scooped it from the pot.  I served these short ribs over mashed potatoes for a satisfyingly hearty meal on a cold night.  The beef is richly flavored so the mashed potatoes seemed like the perfect match to me.  Pure Man Food, according to John.  They would be wonderful served over egg noodles too.

easy beef short ribs family style, slow cooker

Beef Short Ribs
serves 4

3 pounds beef short ribs, trimmed of visible fat
salt and pepper
28 ounces diced tomatoes
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 medium onion, diced
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place short ribs on a roasting pan and sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper to taste.  Roast for 20 minutes.  Let cool and trim and additional visible fat from beef using a paring knife.  (You can do this part the day before you want to serve these and refrigerate overnight.)

Place short ribs in a crock pot.  Add all other ingredients.  Stir gently to combine. Cook on low heat for 10 hours (or 8 hours at minimum).  Remove bones from pot.  Serve beef and sauce over mashed potatoes or egg noodles.  Drizzle with additional balsamic vinegar if desired.


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  1. Bonnie Rague says

    Just want to thank you for putting this in pdf. I normally have to cut and paste, put it in Micros Word then save it.
    SSSSoooo easy, wish everyone would do that. As a bonus the pictures are brighter too. Kudos.
    Have a blessed day,

  2. Latrell says

    Thanks for sharing your beef short ribs receipe. Never cooked beef short ribs before, so this will be a experience. I like the fact you can cook them in the slow cooker. I have all the ingredients, except the main one SHORT RIBS! So going to put that on my list and watch for a sale on them.

  3. Pete says

    Found your recipe after searching extensively for one using beef short ribs with bones in a slow cooker, and this turned out great, a real keeper. The sauce was delicious and there was a lot of it, the meat was lean and fork-tender, and connective tissue became completely edible, didn’t even notice it in the finished product.. The only waste was the bones themselves. Cooking with the bones adds SO much flavor.

    My tomatoes may have been on the acidic side and the vinegar a bit harsh, so I added 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar towards the end of cooking to balance the flavor.. I wouldn’t do this without tasting first.

    Thank you!

    • says

      Hi Pete,
      You’re so right about using the bones – adds incredible flavor. Adding the brown sugar sounds like a nice touch. Thanks for your comment, I’m glad to hear you liked it as much as we did.

  4. barb says

    Thanks for the tip about roasting off the fat. We love slow cooker short ribs and I vary the recipe according to my pantry of the moment. I usually have to skim the top.

  5. says

    This looks great! Thank you for putting together a recipe that’s healthy and not full of processed “extras.” My family will eat well tonight!